Workplace wellness and employee well-being have become more important over time, but nothing has made the importance of workplace wellness clearer than the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the impact of work on our personal lives – especially for those who have been working from their homes for the largest part of the pandemic. Opportunities to build and maintain positive and strong relationships with colleagues have majorly shrunk. Layoffs and furloughed colleagues have increased uncertainty. And lockdowns have forced us all to move less and stay inside more. These conditions have caused a decline in employees’ mental and physical health, so promoting workplace wellness in hybrid organizations has become crucial to maintaining your staff’s well-being.
2020 was the most stressful year workers have ever experienced; according to research by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence:
As countries gradually lift restrictions and employees return to the office, a hybrid future is imminent for more and more organizations. However, the challenges that arose during the pandemic will not cease to exist within hybrid workplaces – especially the growing issue of mental well-being. When done wrong, the hybrid workplace will not only increase the stressors of remote work but those of in-person work at the same time: long commutes, late arrival at home, and a lack of time to exercise or to spend with family – combined with isolation and a lack of social interaction or the absence of enough opportunities to build positive colleague relationships.
Providing a work environment where employees can avoid these stressors is beneficial both for your employees and your organization. Employee well-being is key to employee happiness and fulfillment, which is critical for organizational success. There’s logic to this: when your staff is not engaged, they will be less likely to put in their best efforts. However, when employees are happy and fulfilled in their jobs and organizations, they will put in more (discretionary) effort, and a positive organizational outcome will emanate.
But it’s also wise to focus on well-being not only for organizational purposes – showing you care about your employees’ well-being is the best way to show you put your employees first and genuinely care for your workers. Simply put: organizations that focus on workplace wellness and employee well-being are doing what’s right. So to help you start doing what’s right, these are practical tips to start promoting workplace wellness in your hybrid organization.
First things first: embracing a hybrid workplace means your workforce will be designed to support in-office and remote work, leading to a workforce that’s geographically dispersed every day. In that case, promoting workplace wellness in the first place means you must set up channels that allow you to genuinely reach all your people. Your people at home or in the office, your people in the factory hall, your people on the road, wherever they are – you should be able to reach them.
However, you can’t reach your people on the road the same way you reach your remote workers or office workers. This is where an omnichannel communication platform would be beneficial. Netpresenter’s omnichannel communication platform allows you to publish one message from one content management system via multiple channels: a corporate app for your people on the road, screensavers, lock screens, or wallpapers on your remote workers’ laptops, and digital signage for your office workers or factory hall employees. Deploying many channels will ensure your message genuinely reaches everyone.
Your employees might not even know that their employer has a wellness program or offers physical or mental health benefits. Set up a dedicated wellness page in your SharePoint where all the information your workforce needs is collected and often repeat where your employees can find all the right resources. Connect your dedicated SharePoint page to your digital signage or your interactive screensaver or corporate app, so employees don’t have to search for the information and raise awareness of your wellness programs.
Involve your leadership and have them set the right example: make them encourage your workforce to use the wellness programs by communicating about how your leadership’s health benefits from these programs by communicating about it repeatedly. This will drive your workforce to start making use of your wellness programs, too.
Humans need to be and feel connected. This is difficult if they’re alone in their house and their colleagues are at the office – or at home, too. Make sure to schedule meetings to connect visually using tools such as Microsoft Teams and remind your employees to ask a colleague for help if they need it.
Sitting alone behind a desk all day will decrease the likeliness your employees will ask a colleague for help as they would in the office, because they’re more inclined to finish their tasks by themselves. In the long run, this will increase their workload and may cause extra stress. A reminder on their screensaver to ask for help may give them that little push they need to reach out to their coworkers. It will also let your staff know that they are not in this alone and they are still part of a team, even though they’re alone at home. Teamwork makes the dream work (and keeps your staff sane)!
Sharing small reminders with your colleagues can help them build healthy habits, contributing to their overall mental and physical health. Reminders can be as simple as ‘Stay hydrated, drink a glass of water while you read this!’ or ‘Have you moved your body today? Try going for a short stroll during your lunch break!’. Share these on your employees’ screensavers or large digital signage screens repeatedly, and chances are, you will see your colleagues reaching for the nearest water cooler to make sure they drink their daily two liters of water.
However, you can also remind your employees of your Employee Assistance Programs, Mental Health First Aid, or your Welfare Counseling services. If these programs are out in the open, employees are more likely to make use of them because they can see you are actively bringing them to their attention. This will encourage them to take steps to make healthy changes.
Do you want to start promoting workplace wellness in hybrid organizations? Download our free infographic with 10 tips to start promoting workplace wellness right now. Or get in touch with our consultants to learn how to start promoting workplace wellness in your hybrid organization.